Original Articles

Asif Zardari, Establishment and the Supreme Court : by Bahadar Ali Khan

To my recallable memory collections, I can never fetch a single incident when somebody actually took pictures of the page from guest book placed at Father of the Nation’s mausoleum, except one page remarked and signed by Asif Ali Zardari after he assumed the role of the President of Pakistan and visited Quaid’s grave. The intention was to show the level of incompetency of the new President, to the extent’ that he even can’t spell correctly and this was circulated widely through Internet. This was the maiden homage paid to the new settler of the Pakistani White House by the establishment. People laughed about it, cheered it and ridiculed it. What they wanted the public to believe? Probably that if you come through fair means and elected as President of Pakistan, you are simply a laughing stock. The correct approach was to get commission in the Army. get promoted to the level of Chief of Army Staff and then impose Martial Law, hold a fake referendum and elevate yourself as a President. Nobody would dare to ridicule you.

On a blood-soaked December evening in Rawalpindi when Benazir Bhutto was murdered ,the goal of the pillars of the establishment was about to be fulfilled. Their dream to divide and make sections of the only truly federated party which had always posed challenges to the real bastion of the powers. They assumed that they would bury Benazir Bhutto and her party together. Plan was simple, the way establishment was successful in disintegrating the Muslim League which now carries post-fixes of all the known English and Urdu alphabets and hence each faction is pitched against other resulting in a toothless party, same potential treatment was waiting for PPP. The weak parties are liked by the real power wielders and towing the same line the requiem was prepared for the PPP too. Out of blue, the ‘bad’ guy came on forefront and saved the PPP from segmentation. This was simply unacceptable. And the other sin committed by the PPP leadership was to, despite their loss of BB, insisting on going to polls as planned and not only that, they also persuaded PML-N to do the same. This turned the dream of ‘king-makers’ sour which preferred mayhem and chaos over democratic process and order.

To his credit Mian Nawaz Sharif also displayed tremendous resolve to hold the norms of the democratic process to their highest esteem. During the course he disappointed the PPP detractors by not the following the line they wanted him to tread on. In Nawaz Sharif, pawns of establishment, tried to reincarnate the bellicose and rebellious Nawaz Sharif of yester-decades. But he had earned his very expensive education during the last decade when he felt the heat of Musharraf-era, whereby he could put himself in the shoes of agony which PPP wore during the times of Zia regime. The perfect synergy was established between both parties to the level that a joint federal cabinet was sworn in, which only later was dismantled on the altar of jinks.

This PPP-PML(N) duo, put establishment in an awkward situation where despite its best efforts, it felt itself out of the power arena. They took it as two popular parties colluding against the ‘mighty’. But here the political parties underestimated the power of the establishment after all they are the ones who for all practical purposes had the experience of running Pakistan for last 50 plus years which the naive betrothal of these two political parties couldn’t confront. A new wave of propaganda was unleashed, this time the mode was provocation. In establishment friendly TV talk shows a new term of ‘friendly-opposition’ surfaced, which actually caught even the stalwarts of PML-N off-guard too. They would feel embarrassed and even the Musharraf’s stooges PML-Q got the nerve to make fun of them. After all, PML-N was a different party and as the wisdom of the street dictated them to not to fall in love for democracy to the extent of giving-in their immediate rival in Punjab, PML-Q, the badly needed advantage. Thus, they started giving public statements against Zardari regime. The high moral grounds were abandoned to the political expediency and the Establishment won it again!

Now Zradari was left at the mercy of SMS manufacturing industry, the hostile and opinionated TV anchors and particularly one media group whose market share exceeds all others combined. A set of ruthless media trials started of the PPP government and as a first step, they gave buoyancy to the Yousaf Raza Gilani, the PPP’s PM. The objective was to obtain much needed division inside the ruling party. The ‘Minus-ONE’ formula resurfaced, it has always been tried to use against PPP since its inception. The elder Bhutto was too smart for them to let this formula attain any gravity, however, Western styled BB was not that street smart and in her second tenure as PM, she was the one that needed to be subtracted and Farooq Leghari was believed to be carry-over. However, it didn’t help much and PPP was wiped out of the power corridors for next 12 years to come. The ‘big-brother’ wants the PPP worker to believe, again, that PPP is a great party and Benazir is now official ‘Shaheed’ which establishment has great regards for, but only if this party subtracts Asif Zardari from its ranks. The problem with PPP worker is that he regards Noudero as a gaddi and sajjada-nasheen must come from Bhutto blood lines or their recommended one. For all practical purposes Asif Zardari fits the slot for now and the entire PPP acknowledges that.

If we look at certain events when government ignored criticism and tried to do its job. For instance, the PPP government tried to bring US aid, for the first time in the history of the nation, under civilian control. The objective was to improve the plight of education and health care system. Instead hostile media coupled with establishment, turned that aid into a stigma for the government. The propaganda was so intense that it seemed Pakistan had committed aid to US not the other way round, even the donors in US were appalled over this attitude. In ruthless animosity against Asif Zardari the establishment even tried to sacrifice the state’s interests. After when that aid, that otherwise would have been an achievement by the PPP government, has been transformed into a curse, nobody actually later on and money started coming in. What happened, did the Senate of US revised the conditions attached with the K-L bill? To my knowledge they did not. Then why there so much fuss about it? It seems now that the political government shouldn’t take credit for it and when that objective was archived, life started moving on its normal course with an addition of $1.5B per annum.!

A bunch of self-puritan media people started cursing AZ day and night. When PPP decided to respond, a barrage of criticism started from the same and other similarly synchronized media houses, as why AZ is using tough language. Nobody said that media has pushed PPP to the wall and their last resort was to clear theirself of false and concocted allegations. Even same wise media-men started ridiculing the government as it is scared of the news and commentaries and they were right in their assertion. However a distinction must be made between news and wishful stories. Same applies between political commentaries and public planning as how to oust AZ from presidency. Planning of this sort is the right of opposition parties but not that of journalists and other pillars of establishment.

This is interesting to note that most vocal opponents of AZ in media were crying over their personal issues. Somebody wanted to compete with Hussain Haqqani for the slot of Ambassadorship in some Western Capital, other was in pain because of his loss of job and yet another was an ideological fanatic, who was angry as why a consensus was built by PPP government against his favorite mujahideen. Because the latter fellow was happy over lackluster performance of Musharraf government which turned Taliban stronger rather than weakening them and they held Swat without any trouble for over three years but PPP regime turned tables on them in Swat and routed them out.

During the initial months of Asif Ali Zaradri in presidency, he spent most of his time touring around the world to plead Pakistan’s case and informing them that new public-based government is in place which they can trust. The defamation campaign started by criticizing his travel and the cost incurred on it. This made the President to spend more time in Pakistan and because of security reasons didn’t travel around in Pakistan, for which detractors coined a new term calling him ‘Bunker-President’. And yet again to prove it wrong, when he started addressing public rallies and visits inside Pakistan, even then he wasn’t spared and propaganda now started firing by questioning whether he can address as PPP chairperson while being president. In a nutshell, all the Bhutto and PPP-haters made a resolve to unsettle him. Question is, why they are doing it? Is he not an elected president? Why they want to over throw him? Do they really think if there was somebody else in his place, situation would have been better? No, they are not interested in anything else except their campaign ‘go-get-Zardari’ at any cost, no matter what, come what may! What they will do next, nobody knows, even they theirself don’t know.

During all this time, corruption remained the key word of all propaganda campaign. I don’t know how much corruption Zardari has done, but question is, whether he is the only corrupt person in Pakistan? Is there nobody else who has done the same or more? If answer is yes, which is actually a big ‘Yes’, then why we don’t see the same treatment to others? Answer is PPP. The problem with PPP is its deep roots in the public which is its greatest strength and at the same time greatest weakness or I must say its Achilles heel. This very quality of PPP always posed a challenge to the men in establishment. Nobody thinks, or I must say that we are all patients of collective amnesia as how much sacrifice its leadership has given. The whole Bhutto family is gone. But the Bhutto phenomenon still lives and as long as it lives, no matter who becomes the head of the PPP would meet the same treatment. Our establishment is very powerful, they can do whatever they want to do.

The current Chief Justice of Pakistan, who is more like an elected CJ than appointed one, also shown an extra-ordinary swiftness in reviving back a lapsed ordinance under scrutiny and as per some commentators even transcending the original plea of the appellants by giving an all encompassing verdict, so that by no way Zardari could escape the justice. The media has proved to be the protector of the Supreme Court, which is a good thing, but a natural curiosity remains to be seen. Would the NRO cases been illuminated with the same powerful media torches, had Asif Zaradri were not among the accused? The spin given to the NRO created a perception that only politician benefited from NRO, though they are only 24 out of 8000 other accused. Can I also dare to ask my Lord the CJ of Pakistan, when a suo moto process is going to be initiated against the retired Generals, including Parvez Musharraf, the bureaucrats and against the politician on the other side of the PPP divide for their embezzlements and generous loan deferments or even annulments because for sure the collective amount is million times more than what Asif Zardari and company is accused of. By saying so, I am not defending Asif Zardari, I don’t know whether he plundered or not, he should face the courts. But if I account for the time he has spent in the jails so far, is like this: 1990-1993, then 1996-2004, that amounts to 11 years without being proven guilty by a single court. How much is the maximum court sentence for the embezzlement or playing foul with the public money? Even then, for the sake of stability of the democratic system shouldn’t we let this rickety government carry-on? Shouldn’t we let the public be judge of that? We must also respect the verdict of the people who elected AZ and his party to power and if, as the impression is given, AZ is so unpopular, how come his party win the elections in Gilgit-Baltistan?

Finally I would say when the past sins of CJ for taking oath under PCO and then validating Musharraf government can be washed, when Nawaz Sharif can be pardoned for his attack on Supreme court and his family’s use of power in order to accumulate personal wealth then question remains why Asif Zardari for his perceived crimes for which he has already faced the jail-sentence cannot be forgiven?

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Taimoor Kashmiri

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  • As per Daily Dawn dated March 07, 2008 Friday Safar 28, 1429

    “QUOTE”

    Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani announced on Thursday his institution’s complete support for the elected government and the democratic process. However, he called for avoiding schism between various pillars of the state and dispelled a perception that the army was distancing itself from the president. Alluding to a perception about ‘the army distancing itself from the president’, he stressed the importance of the constitutional relationship between the army and the National Command Structure. Highlighting the need for understanding, he pointed out that any kind of schism, at any level, under the circumstances would not be in the larger interest of the nation.” [1]

    “UNQUOTE”

    In my humble view they should distanced themselves from Mr Musharraf not only Mr Musharraf but every political party as well because that is the need of the hour since Mr Musharraf is not neutral, neutral and impartial President doesn’t address political rallies nor does they ‘predict’ the vicotry of ‘Like minded parties i.e. King Parties. Getting close to Mr Musharraf him will surely make anybody a party. Why Mr. Musharraf is not neutral. read

    “QUOTE”

    I change the subject. Last time I visited him here in Rawalpindi he gave me a spookily accurate prediction of the imminent election results, which suggested information more than insight. Who will win this election? His answer is definitive. The PML-Q (the party otherwise known as the King’s Party, assembled by President Musharraf himself six years ago to legitimise his “managed” democracy) allied with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement will “certainly have the majority. Whether they’ll be able to form a government is a question mark.” This contradicts all the recent opinion polls, which have shown that the popularity of his favoured party is right down, at just 12 per cent. I point out this out to him. [1]

    “UNQUOTE”

    A good advice for all and sundry is conveyed in an Editorial of Daily Dawn Dated 08-Mar-2008.

    “Quote”

    Reading the subtext [3]

    THERE is something unmistakably oxymoronic about the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations directorate after the corps commanders meeting at the GHQ on Thursday. If you read the subtext, it means that though the army will support the next democratic government, the latter should not let “schisms” develop in the working of the political system; though the army will keep its distance from politics, the impression that it has distanced itself from the president is wrong; and, finally, the army should not be “dragged” into politics and be allowed to concentrate on its professional duties. There can be no two opinions on the last-mentioned wish attributed to Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. However, the ISPR does not tell us who
    or what prompted this reaction from Gen Kayani. [3]

    If the army wishes to stay out of politics then why come out with an opinion on matters purely political and constitutionally beyond the pale for generals? Pray, who is stopping the armed forces from going back to their professional duties, from returning to the barracks? Pakistan has had eight years during which the military’s running of affairs well outside its designated area of responsibility has wreaked havoc on the country. One man who led the military and the country called all the shots. Pakistan slipped deeper and deeper into anarchy, with even the economic windfall from Islamabad’s readiness to join the US-led war on terror failing to brake this slide.[3]

    Little wonder then that all state institutions, including the army, received a pat on the back for organising a by and large fair (on the day at least) election on Feb 18. A tense, tentative nation heaved a sigh of relief for the result was not disputed and the country spared the turmoil which could have imperilled its very existence. The nation has spoken. Let its voice be heard. If the elected parliament wants to undo the tampering the constitution was subjected to by the former chief of army staff so be it. It is time the generals sought a complete break from the divisive role their erstwhile army chief ended up playing. It should resolutely resist being “dragged” into politics. It should be left to the parliament to sort out any “schisms” that may develop. The army should help the civilian government tackle the daunting challenges posed by the scourge of religious extremism and terrorism. One would caution General Kayani against opting for any role for himself other than that of the army chief. His is a full-time job and so much needs to be done to restore the fighting edge to the military and the morale of the soldiers. Known as a ‘thinking’ man, one hopes that he’ll not be tempted by talk of power troikas for the consequences of choosing such a path are disastrous. [3]

    “UNQUOTE”

    References:
    1- ‘Army not distancing itself from president’: Gen Kayani announces support for elected govt [1]

    By Iftikhar A. Khan March 07, 2008 Friday Safar 28, 1429

    http://www.dawn.com/2008/03/07/top2.htm

    2- An extraordinary encounter with Musharraf [2]

    As Pakistan votes tomorrow in its postponed elections, Jemima Khan is granted a rare interview with Pervez Musharraf, the country’s beleaguered leader

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/an-extraordinary-encounter-with-musharraf-783388.html

    3- Reading the subtext March 08, 2008 Saturday Safar 29, 1429

    http://www.dawn.com/2008/03/08/ed.htm#1

    SOMERSAULTS OF JANG GROUP

    NRO: Weak Memory of GEO/JANG GROUP OF NEWSPAPERS

    Problem is this that Liars don’t have good memory and that is the case with Jang Group of Newspapers and their “Alleged Islamists” Journalists in particular Ansar Abbasi, read CJ’s affidavit and then read two conflicting news items published in the same newspaper i.e. Jang and News.

    “QUOTE”

    The ‘other persons’ entered the room immediately. They were: Prime Minster Shaukat Aziz, the Directors General ofMilitary Intelligence (MI), Director General of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Director General Intelligence Bureau(IB), Chief of Staff (COS) and another official. All officials (except the IB chief and the COS) were in uniform. “The meeting lasted about 30 minutes. The chiefs of the MI, ISI and IB stayed back, but they too did not show him me a single piece of evidence.” In fact, Justice iftikhar said, no official, except the ISI chief, had any document with him. The officials, however, alleged that Justice Iftikhar had used his influence to get his son admitted in Bolan Medical College, Quetta, when he was serving as a judge of the Balochistan High Court. The ISI and MI heads persisted in their demand for resignation, the CJ said. “I refused, saying that the demand has a collateral purpose.” REFERENCE: CJ says chiefs of MI, ISI asked him to quit: Affidavit on March 9 camp office event By Iftikhar A. Khan May 30, 2007 Wednesday Jamadi-ul-Awwal 13, 1428 http://www.dawn.com/2007/05/30/top1.htm

    “UNQUOTE”

    NOW READ LIES AND PACK OF CONTRADICTIONS IN THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL:

    Article Ansar Abbasi on Gen Kayani who had even offered a cup of coffee to CJ is as under:

    “QUOTE”
    This is also in public knowledge that even during the days when Musharraf was an all powerful dictator, he had also refused to give an affidavit against the incumbent Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhryfollowing his controversial suspension on March 9, 2007. Perhaps not many know that Musharraf and some of his other Generals misbehaved with the chief justice on March 9 in order to coerce him into tendering resignation, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the then ISI chief, was decent and polite with the chief justice. While others were rude towards the CJ, it was Gen Kayani, who had even offered a cup of coffee to Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. REFERENCE: Army to stay away Thursday, July 23, 2009 Kayani treated Iftikhar with respect when Musharraf and aides misbehaved with him By Ansar Abbasi http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=23417

    How dictator Musharraf used his colleagues against Justice Iftikhar Friday, December 25, 2009 By Usman Manzoor
    http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=26280
    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/dec2009-daily/25-12-2009/main.htm

    ISLAMABAD: The detailed judgment in the case of the restoration of the Chief Justice of Pakistan on July 20, 2007 reveals that not only Pervez Musharraf but the then Director General ISI and the DG Military Intelligence (MI) had also insisted that the chief justice resign during his illegal detention at the Army House Rawalpindi on March 9, 2007.
    NRO: How “Conveniently” Pakistani Media Taliban Forget [Particularly The News]

    read and laugh OR LAMENT.

    “QUOTE”

    How is it that those behind the deal-making based on this unconstitutional and illegal ordinance were not named and shamed/charged outright? Indeed, as reported widely at the time, the present chief of army staff was the DG ISI when the final draft of the NRO was being presented to Benazir in Dubai and was part of Musharraf’s team sent to convince her. REFERENCE: Let us be grateful for small mercies By Kamran Shafi Tuesday, 22 Dec, 2009http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/let-us-be-grateful-for-small-mercies-229

    Read ANOTHER ROCKET.

    Interestingly, General Kayani was the only senior officer present with President Pervez Musharraf when he had the historic meeting with Benazir Bhutto at the Musharraf palace in the suburbs of Abu Dhabi in July this year. Then he was the director general inter-services intelligence (ISI). General Kayani also took part in the interactions and deliberations with different political leaders, including Benazir Bhutto, for quite sometime till his promotion as the four-star general. The meeting at the Presidency was also attended by the prime intelligence agencies and other heads of the law-enforcement agencies. The initial report that was submitted to the high-level meeting disclosed that Benazir Bhutto was hit by the ball bearings of the suicide bomber’s jacket that hit and cut her jugular vain. REFERENCE: It was not a bullet, president told at high-level meeting Friday, December 28, 2007http://www.thenews.com.pk/print3.asp?id=11928

    Here’s what I wrote two years ago: “By now, the dynamics set in place by America seem immutable: what Washingtonwants, it gets. Never mind about the people of Pakistan and what they wanted. Benazir Bhutto made Washington her second home this summer. And it paid off. The State Department turned a brokerage house facilitating political deals between Bhutto and the Pakistan Army led by General Musharraf’s heir-in-chief, General Kayani. The broker, that is America, stands to reap huge dividends… Secretary of State Rice admitted that America was pressing General Musharraf “very hard” to allow for free and fair elections. When asked if Benazir Bhutto had a role in the future political setup, she answered, “Well, I don’t see why not”. When asked how the corruption cases against Benazir Bhutto would play into the new equation, Condi Rice deflected it by going off on a tangent: “There needs to be a contested parliamentary system, but whether or not she is able to overcome that and whether Pakistanis are willing to allow that is really up to them.” The reason for her gobbledygook response is now as clear as the blue sky. Washington was working around the clock to get Musharraf to pass an ordinance providing amnesty to Bhutto for her alleged corruption. And Ms Rice was the one pushing the general to go for it.” REFERENCE: Last tango in Washington — II Wednesday, October 28, 2009 Anjum Niaz http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=205482

    Pakistan’s cadre of elite generals, called the corps commanders, have long been kingmakers inside the country. At the top of that cadre is Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, General Musharrafís designated successor as Army chief. General Kayani is a moderate, pro-American infantry commander who is widely seen as commanding respect within the Army and, within Western circles, as a potential alternative to General Musharraf. General Kayani and other military leaders are widely believed to be eager to pull the Army out of politics and focus its attention purely on securing the country. REFERENCE: If Musharraf falls… Friday, November 16, 2007 US making contingency plans http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=11176

    A former U.S. intelligence official who dealt personally with Kiyani says the ISI “took a lot of bad guys down” under his leadership. Kiyani has earned his boss’s confidence, even serving as Musharraf’s personal envoy in recent talks with exiled opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. REFERENCE: The Next Musharraf A Westernized, chain-smoking spy could soon become the most powerful man in Pakistan. By Ron Moreau and Zahid Hussain | NEWSWEEK From the magazine issue dated Oct 8, 2007 http://www.newsweek.com/id/41883

    “UNQUOTE”

    SOMERSAULTS OF HAMID MIR!!!!

    Hamid Mir in his latest article has condemned Pakistani Military Intelligence [MI] for Massacre of 12 May 2007 Monday, December 28, 2009, Muharram 10, 1431 A.H

    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/dec2009-daily/28-12-2009/col2.htm

    Whereas one year ago the same Hamid Mir had condemned the ISI for the 12 May 2007 Massacre.

    De facto Sindh CM finally transferred Monday, April 21, 2008 By Hamid Mir
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=14221

    ISLAMABAD: The man who has ruled Sindh as a de facto chief minister for many years finally lost his powers on Saturday.
    Brigadier Huda, who was an ISI commander in Sindh, was in fact the caretaker of the MQM-PML-Q provincial coalition government. He was responsible for running the coalition in a smooth manner. All major decisions were taken after his consultation.
    He resolved the differences between former CM Arbab Ghulam Rahim and the MQM many a time. Many provincial ministers even used to say “ooper Khuda aur neechay Huda”. The brigadier’s name figured in the power circles of Islamabad in the evening of May 12, 2007. Brigadier Huda was given credit for the show of massive government power in Karachi on that day. Initially, the MQM was reluctant to hold a rally in Karachi on May 12. The then ISI DG Gen Ashfaq Kayani also had the same opinion that the MQM should not come out on the streets when Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would visit Karachi. It was Huda who played an important role in convincing the MQM not to cancel its rally. He assured the MQM leadership that there will be no riots on that day though he was proved wrong. He was supposed to be very close to the then Army chief General Pervez Musharraf. However, no action was taken against him.

    The blasts in the rally of Benazir Bhutto on October 18, 2007 in Karachi were another failure of Brigadier Huda. He was responsible for the security of Benazir Bhutto on that day more than anybody else. However, he was not transferred despite his repeated failures. His downfall started on April 9, 2008, when many people including lawyers were killed in the Karachi violence. It was another failure on the part of Huda. The new PPP government in Sindh felt that Brigadier Huda was still having immense political influence. It believed that he was in contact with the anti-PPP forces. Many important bureaucrats reported to the provincial government that Huda was interfering in different departments. He was more interested in “political makings and breakings” than doing his security job.

    After the episode of April 9, PPP leaders asked ISI Director General Lt Gen Nadeem Taj through the prime minister that Huda must be transferred. It took just a few days and Huda was transferred. He was replaced by another brigadier. The PPP gave a message that it means business and it will not tolerate any ambitious spymasters. There are rumors in the capital that the ISI DG will also be transferred soon but highly-placed sources in the new government dispelled all these rumours. “The prime minister has the authority to change the ISI DG anytime but right now we don’t need to change him,” claimed a top PPP leader.

    Same Hamid Mir condemns ISI for Mehran Bank:
    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/dec2009-daily/24-12-2009/col3.htm

    Same Hamid Mir condemns PM Yousuf Raza Gilani:

    Time is running out for PM Gilani Saturday, December 26, 2009 By Hamid Mir
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=26303

    ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is desperately trying to get out of a political crisis, bordering chaos, created by his own colleagues but, unfortunately, he is looking helpless.

    He invited more than three dozen TV anchorpersons and journalists from across the country to the Prime Minister’s House on Thursday evening and tried to impress upon them that “I am the government and my government is strong, I am not threatened by any conspiracy. There is no conspiracy going on.”

    It was his sheer bad luck that at the Bilawal House in Karachi the same evening, President Asif Ali Zardari was saying something totally different. “Certain mercenary elements are involved in conspiracies to topple the government. We will foil all these conspiracies,” said Zardari.

    The same day, Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz condemned the “conspiracies hatched by generals against democracy”. Both Zardari and Gilani claimed on Thursday that they respected the Supreme Court (SC) verdict on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), but their actions were speaking louder than words, which were in direct conflict with each other. Gilani was looking confident in front of many aggressive and charged anchorpersons, yet at one stage, he conceded: “You people have cornered me.”

    I have a lot of respect for Gilani, because I am a witness to how bravely he spent more than six years behind the bars and refused to make any deal with Pervez Musharraf, but I was feeling very sorry for this brave man on Thursday evening when he failed to answer me and some of my colleagues on many occasions. When one of us reminded him that the SC had ordered the federal government and all other competent authorities to proceed against former attorney general Malik Muhammad Qayyum, he hid behind the screen, saying: “We are waiting for the detailed judgment of the court.”

    There is no reason for anyone to wait for the detailed judgment after the categorical directions given in the short order on December 16, which itself extends to 18 pages. So, it is not so short anyway. Gilani must spend a few minutes to read page 17, which says: “We place on record our displeasure about the conduct and lack of proper and honest assistance and cooperation on the part of the chairman of the NAB, the prosecutor general of the NAB and the additional prosecutor general of the NAB, namely Mr Abdul Baseer Qureshi, in this case.

    “Consequently, it is not possible for us to trust them with proper and diligent pursuit of the cases falling within their respective spheres of operation. It is, therefore, suggested that the federal government may make fresh appointments against the said posts.”

    But look at what happened. The SC suggested making changes in the NAB on Dec 16. The very next day, Gilani reshuffled the top bureaucracy and appointed six new federal secretaries. Not a single change was made in the NAB. One week after the SC order, the prime minister changed Federal Law Secretary Justice (retd) Riaz Kiyani. He was the one who cooperated with the SC during the hearing of the NRO cases. It was Riaz Kiyani who produced a file in the court, which proved that the NAB officials were actually trying to hide some very important facts from the court.

    It is believed that Riaz Kiyani was punished by the prime minister, because he embarrassed the NAB officials in front of 17 judges. The president and the prime minister have even appointed a new attorney general, but they have not listened to what the SC has suggested in its short order. Is it not a violation of the order? How can we believe that the prime minister respected the SC verdict? If Prime Minister Gilani is under pressure from President Zardari not to take action against Malik Qayyum and not to make changes in the NAB, then Gilani must resist and try to convince him. They have no other option but to implement the verdict in its true spirit. I agree with Gilani that his government has the right to complete its five-year term, but he himself has predicted that a clash between the institutions will ruin everything.

    He should not push the SC to remind him of the Article 190 of the Constitution, which says: “All executive and judicial authorities throughout Pakistan shall act in the aid of the Supreme Court.”

    Many legal bigwigs are saying that the SC can call the Army for its help and once the Army is called under the Article 190, then it would also like to act under the Article 245 “in aid of the civil power”.

    A clash between the institutions could create a new crisis, in which any provincial government will have the right to invite the Army under the Article 245 in the name of help. One mistake will lead to more mistakes. One disaster will be followed by bigger disasters. This scenario has forced many allies of the government to stand at some distance from all those who are saying one thing and doing an entirely different thing.

    The PML-N is still ready to help Gilani for saving democracy, but both Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif are reluctant to trust the PPP and Zardari. They are extremely worried why the federal government is not implementing the SC verdict yet.
    One top PML-N leader told me recently that the Army leadership was fed up with Zardari and wanted to get rid of him, but the PML-N was not ready to support any unconstitutional action against Zardari.

    Some people are even saying that Zardari is already history and have started throwing new names as his successor. The names of Aftab Shaban Mirani, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani and Makhdoom Amin Fahim are already under discussion in some circles, but it is clear that the PPP’s Central Executive Committee will not accept anyone out of these three as the new president.
    This situation may force one powerful institution to ruin all other weak institutions. Gilani and Zardari must realise that the survival of one institution lies in strengthening the other institutions. Parliament must respect the SC and if these two are united and strong, no third institution can even think of crossing its constitutional limits.

    Apparently, Gilani gave us the impression on Thursday evening that he had no problem with the SC and the Army leadership, but even a common Pakistani is aware that there are misunderstandings between Zardari and the Army. When Gilani said “We have no differences with the Army on the Kerry-Lugar Bill”, I asked him a simple question: Why did the ISPR issue a press release about its concerns on the bill? Gilani responded meekly: “I don’t know.”

    Nobody asked Gilani any question about the role of General Kayani in the restoration of the deposed judges. He himself started saying: “I restored the deposed judges, not Gen Kayani.” When I asked him if he restored the judges, then why Gen Kayani called Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan on March 16 and informed him that the judges would be restored this evening, Gilani again responded meekly: “I don’t know.”

    In other words, Gilani politicised the Army chief very “innocently” in his typical Multani style. He said it again and again that the month of March would also pass and his government would still be there. We reminded Gilani of the statements of Nawaz Sharif just a few days before the military coup in October 1999 when he was claiming that his government was not facing any threats. Gilani responded blankly: “No, Nawaz Sharif never said that.” Which brings me to the point to say: “Good luck to you, Mr Gilani. Your government may survive again, but you must get out of the chaos, which is going on from months and months. This government cannot govern in the interest of the people of Pakistan, if the political situation remains the same.”
    Gilani’s interaction with the media gave us an impression that the PPP leaders have yet to formulate a strategy to avert a clash between the institutions. Time is running out. The government must act swiftly to implement the SC order without waiting for the detailed judgment.

    Zardari and Gilani must fix a deadline for the implementation of the Charter of Democracy, in consultation with the PML-N, as soon as possible. Otherwise, the PML-N will be no more in a position to rescue the PPP government this time. Gilani must remember his own words that a clash between the institutions will ruin everything.

  • I think no leader should take the NRO judgment personally if he has nothing to hide. If there are criminal cases against the members of other parties, they should also be filed in the court of law. Democracy is the best revenge is what Mr Zardari has been saying all along. Now he has the opportunity to let democracy take the revenge. Give it a chance. Let the judiciary play its role in the execution of checks and balances. Also, what judiciary is doing should not be given a sentimental & policital twist. It should not be linked with the events like execution of Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or the assasination Benazir Bhutto, because there is no relationship between the two.

  • Worst times have arrived therefore Mr. 10% (ten percent) have become leaders of our beloved country. I will not go into the details how corrupt our leaders are. Along with corruption they don’t care if poor people live or die. Zardari and his government have sold our country for few dollars and now our national interests are also on sale by him. When I think about the situation in Pakistan my heart really goes, looking at the necessity which Pakistani nation does not have, such as Sugar, Wheat flour, Electricity, Gas, jobs, clean drinking water and there is huge list of other necessities which Pakistani nation does not enjoy. However leaders of Pakistan have turned a blind eye to the problems of poor people. I always wonder that why Pakistan does not utilizes 18 billion people and produce various items which can later be sold in international market such as Airplanes, Fast Trains, Weapon technology and various other items. Leaders of Pakistan have pledged to neglect this nation and they are extremely busy filling their own pockets with stolen poor people’s money. I pray to God that the injustice vanishes soon and we see a real and authentic leader who can lead us through prosperity and happiness. I believe the leaders of Pakistan have failed to look after their country and they have failed to show care. We as a nation should unite together and raise against the ignorance we face today. Thank you